Make Noise interfaces are like a riddle. They remind me of minimalistic art pieces from the early 20th century - inviting you to question geometric compositions of mysterious lines and shapes. These instruments purposefully do not give a straight answer but hint towards a direction one could take.

This is a deliberate design decision that aims to shape the way musicians use a Make Noise instrument. The design invites a particular kind of composer - one that will dare to explore an untrodden path, in the search for exceptional sounds and performance along the way. The interface is like a guide, a map of sorts, that can be read in various ways.

The Strega, in particular, is interesting because of its unconventional signal path. This is not your traditional "voice", to say the least. Placing the delay/reverb in the center of the circuit directly affects the interaction with the instrument and the kind of sounds that will come out of it.

In this conversation, we dive into the challenges of designing an instrument like the Strega - a synthesizer that was made in close collaboration with artist Alessandro Cortini.

Check out the images below for some paper sketches and a block diagram from early in the process that shows how the idea was formed.

Instrument in discussion

Sketches & prototypes

Make Noise // Strega // Tony Rolando // Block Diagram
Make Noise // Strega // Tony Rolando // Block Diagram
Make Noise // Strega // Tony Rolando // Initial Sketch
Make Noise // Strega // Tony Rolando // Initial Sketch
Make Noise // Strega // Tony Rolando // Interface Study
Make Noise // Strega // Tony Rolando // Interface Study